All out of lemons but need a splash for those baked goods or that vinaigrette? Before you rush to the store, find out if you can use a substitute for lemon juice instead! We've got five options you can try.

grapefruit, orange, and lime, from Shelf Cooking

Around here, we consider lemon juice a kitchen staple! There are SO many ways to use that liquid gold. Whether you need a marinade, a salad dressing, or want to make some lemon blueberry bread, lemon juice is a shelf cooking hero.

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What happens if you've already preheated the oven and you realize you've run out? Don't grab those car keys or fire up Instacart just yet! If you need a substitute for lemon juice, we're about to share several smart ideas. Here we go!


Before we dive into the substitute options, let's address the question you're probably asking yourself! Can you freeze lemon juice? Why, yes. Yes, you can! Here are three easy methods:

  • Make Ice Cubes – Here's our favorite method! Pour your lemon juice (fresh or bottled) into an ice tray, freeze the cubes, then place the cubes in a freezer bag for safe keeping. Now you've got individual portions ready to thaw and use.
  • Freeze Lemon Slices – Prefer to fresh squeeze your juice? You can slice fresh lemons and toss them in an airtight bag to freeze. When you're ready for some fresh juice, just thaw those slices overnight in the fridge and juice away.
  • Place the Juice in a Freezer-Safe Container – Want to stock up on lemon juice? Pour any you can't use right away into an airtight, freezer-safe bag or container.

In general, lemon juice will keep in the freezer for around three months! Now, ready for some substitute options?


fresh squeezed lime juice, from Shelf Cooking

Here's your easiest option and our favorite substitute! Lime juice and lemon juice taste so similar and have the same chemical makeup, so you can swap them out for one another and never know the difference. Just use a one-to-to ratio, and you're all set! Fresh-squeezed, bottles, or a combo? Either way! You decide and use what you've got.


While you will notice a difference in flavor, the acid content in orange or grapefruit juice is similar enough to use as a lemon juice substitute. If you opt to go this route, we'd steer clear of any baked goods that need a lemony flavor. Keep in mind that orange juice is MUCH sweeter, but it can work in a pinch. Orange, grapefruit, or even pineapple juice are great substitutes in a marinade or vinaigrette recipe that calls for lemon.


bottle of white vinegar, from Shelf Cooking

If you're making a recipe that just calls for a touch of lemon juice, vinegar is a good option. The acid makeup is almost identical, so it works as a one-to-one substitute in baking. If you're making lemon bars, a lemon loaf, or other lemony treats, you might be better off subbing in some lime juice instead.


If you're like us and don't drink alcohol, you may have been left wondering what to do with that bottle of white wine your neighbor dropped off when you moved into the neighborhood. Well, wonder no more! During baking or cooking, the alcohol content disappears, and the chemical makeup of white wine makes it a great lemon juice alternative. A small amount goes a long way! This ingredient swap is perfect for deglazing pans or grilling. You could even add a small splash to the crockpot to help tenderize meat.


using cream of tartar as lemon juice substitute, from Shelf Cooking

Fun fact: a lot of the time, recipes call for lemon juice to create a chemical reaction rather than provide flavor. That means acidic cream of tartar can serve the same purpose if you're in a bind. For every one teaspoon of lemon juice, use 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Don't forget to compensate for the liquid you're omitting. A splash of water can make all the difference!

Well, there you have it! The next time you need a lemon juice substitute, you'll know what to do.

Do you have a favorite recipe that calls for lemon juice? Let us know in the comments! We LOVE trying new things!

While you're here, why not brush up on some more substitution hacks?

Squeeze the day!